What are the stupidest mistakes service professionals make...

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 What are the stupidest mistakes service "professionals" make when they are dealing with angry guests? 

 

Example from JB: a great restaurant with great service, supposedly. Very popular and delicious Italian subs come with kosher pickle and side of thick potato chips, $9.50.  Three of us ordered this.

All three came without said pickle. One person had chips that were smaller than my pinky nail, crumbled broken pieces from the bottom of a bag. Do you say something? $9.50 each plus tax plus tip. We said something. Waitress was put out. She comes back with a small plate with three pickles on it, and another with a handful of chips and says and I quote "That's the best I can do." and walks away. Total bill was over $45.00 for sandwiches for 4 people.

We weren't angry guests, but as you all will attest, we won't go back. Did I write a review? I could have, but I didn't. It is THAT servers job to ensure the guests got what they ordered, and it was not that complicated, was it.

PS I put the "quotes" around professionals above, I do not think today these folks are professionals, I think majority are just hacks. If they want to stay in business, they better give good service, I didn't even say excellent, I said good, at least good!

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 We had our first breakfast on the porch this morning. The server made a gratuity. I told the "server" you can serve burnt food, or drop coffee, but if you smile and are cheerful and respectul they will overlook anything! On the same token, the food can be perfect and an unfriendly server can spoil the whole meal.  So she was happy! The other "server" is eager to do this tomorrow. They each get one day this weekend.

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How about oldtimer. Anybody would loved to be called that.

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I think it all stems from the top...owner/management. You know that if any of us owned those businesses that kind of behavior would not be happening!

We just came back from a trip and were wowed by the experience in one restaurant. This was a large place and from the moment we walked through the front door, we knew who was in charge. He expected excellence from his employees and that's what we got.

I once ate at a local place here. I ordered prime rib and it was terrible, so tough you couldn't chew it, the waitress asked how everything was and I told her. Here was her response "oh, next time you should order the sirloin, I'm eating one right now and it's so juicy and tender". I nearly threw my plate at her! She went back to the owner/manager and I could her the owner say "well, did she eat it?" in a nasty voice. I couldn't believe it! The answer was no, I didn't eat the prime rib or the rest of my meal because it was also disgusting. The waitress & owners' remedy was to offer me a free dessert. I told them I didn't want the free dessert, I HADN'T EATED DINNER YET!

All that was needed was to just bring me that juicy, tender sirloin. Sheesh. You can bet that I've never been back to that place and I tell all my guests to stay away. The waitress was obviously inexperienced, but the owner had no excuse.

It comes from the top.

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I'd have tossed the item out of my basket too. I'm not going to jump extra hurdles because THEY have a problem with their equipment and price marking.

Also drives me crazy when I approach a store clerk to ask for help and he/she continues a conversation with a workmate while I stand and stand.

I've been tempted to grab cell phones from sales people and throw them into the hardware section. I'm good at controlling my roadrage. Must learn to control my checkout aisle rage.

Poor service costs a lot of businesses dearly.

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That's such a huge pet peeve with me - continuing to talk amongst themselves when a customer is in front of them.  I get so irritated I can just imagine they can see the color of my face change.  Of all the rudest and disrespectful things to do to a customer is to ignore them and act as if your buddy is more important... UGH!

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K9, do you see customers talking/texting on their mobile devices while they're checking out where you live?  I think that's so rude also!

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Samster wrote:

K9, do you see customers talking/texting on their mobile devices while they're checking out where you live?  I think that's so rude also!

I've had that here. This needs a separate topic page, be right back...

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Arkansawyer wrote:

Poor service costs a lot of businesses dearly.

Most of them have no idea, tho, do they.

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Madeleine wrote:

Arkansawyer wrote:

Poor service costs a lot of businesses dearly.

Most of them have no idea, tho, do they.

That is a double whatchyamacallit... "DEAR" also means costly. Smiling

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I thought the hope and potential for a good tip was supposed to, mostly, take care of service problems. Why does the system break down in some places?

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Arkansawyer wrote:

I thought the hope and potential for a good tip was supposed to, mostly, take care of service problems. Why does the system break down in some places?

Perhaps because A) they are too young to understand this or too new at the job; B) they've been doing it so long they no longer care; C) they've been screwed out of a tip so many times they don't rely on getting one.

There's the whole 'tipping food chain' to contend with also. Who tips the best? Guys on dates trying to impress the girl. Who tips the worst? Groups of women.  The server has already determined what the tip will be so why bother. (Which is also why servers should never drape their lovely selves all over my DH when we're out, cuz you got it, I'm the one with the money.)

That's the working for tips mentality. The working for the pleasure of doing a good job is something else altogether and will get you good service no matter what tipping group you fall into.

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Madeleine wrote:

"...Which is also why servers should never drape their lovely selves all over my DH when we're out, cuz you got it, I'm the one with the money."

 My days of being draped are over,  but what irritates me more than anything is for a southern waitress to call me "Hon" or "Baby".    Their tip diminishes everytime they are overly familiar.  

I don't think showing a customer respect is old fashioned,  which is why I'm also irritated by telemarketers who call me by my first name.

 

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Proud Texan wrote:

...what irritates me more than anything is for a southern waitress to call me "Hon" or "Baby".    Their tip diminishes everytime they are overly familiar.  

AMEN TO THAT! Drives me crazy.

And add sweetie and dear and anything else. I don't even like to be called sir. Just give me the facts or say thank you. No need to add a pet name.

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Arkansawyer wrote:

Proud Texan wrote:

...what irritates me more than anything is for a southern waitress to call me "Hon" or "Baby".    Their tip diminishes everytime they are overly familiar.  

AMEN TO THAT! Drives me crazy.

And add sweetie and dear and anything else. I don't even like to be called sir. Just give me the facts or say thank you. No need to add a pet name.

ahhhh Arks, come on, no pet names? haha  

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PT, I was invited to have lunch yesterday with a friend who has some family issues now.  Speaking of overly familiar, our server proceeded to tell us that she had been to a doctor's appt that morning so that if she "was out of it", to please excuse her.  She then went into great detail with my friend (who only knows her to speak to her at the restaurant) with exactly what her minor procedure was.  I'm sorry, but it was beyond TMI.  And I'm an RN!!  I don't want to hear that when I'm trying to order a salad, thank you very much...

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Proud Texan wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

"...Which is also why servers should never drape their lovely selves all over my DH when we're out, cuz you got it, I'm the one with the money."

 My days of being draped are over,  but what irritates me more than anything is for a southern waitress to call me "Hon" or "Baby".    Their tip diminishes everytime they are overly familiar.  

I don't think showing a customer respect is old fashioned,  which is why I'm also irritated by telemarketers who call me by my first name.

 

This is something I take in context. 'Hon' is something I expect in the south. And at a diner. 'You guys' is not something I expect anywhere, but it is rampant.

Telemarketers right, do not pretend you're my friend.

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Proud Texan wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

"...Which is also why servers should never drape their lovely selves all over my DH when we're out, cuz you got it, I'm the one with the money."

 My days of being draped are over,  but what irritates me more than anything is for a southern waitress to call me "Hon" or "Baby".    Their tip diminishes everytime they are overly familiar.  

I don't think showing a customer respect is old fashioned,  which is why I'm also irritated by telemarketers who call me by my first name.

 

I hired housekeeping here twice. Wait three times. None with a good result, the last one was on the front page of the paper...anywho - she called me Hon.  Let's see I am older than you, I am your boss, you call me hon. Interesting. She was not southern.

The southern girls call me m'am as do the southern men, no matter what their age, old men call me m'am and it always seems odd. But it is what it is. While we're on the pet peeve moment the calling of me "guys" also is irritating.  "Hi Guys!" "Ready to order guys?" "Everything okay guys?"

But as my Grandpa used to say, when someone called him Sir, or Mister he would stop them and touch their arm in a caring way and say "You don't need to call me sir or mister, just call me what everyone else does 'Crazy old bastard' "    and then laugh so hard he would snort coffee out his nose.

And sure enough they would walk away calling him that!

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

The southern girls call me m'am as do the southern men, no matter what their age, old men call me m'am and it always seems odd. But it is what it is. 

 In proper Southern homes,  children are taught to say  "Yes, m'am" or "sir"  under pain of death.    It IS intended to be a show of respect.

"Hon", on the otherhand is being overly familiar and is considered inappropriate.

 

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I like Grandpa!!

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 BTW went through the self check out at the grocery store last night. They have a person working that area as it never seems to scan things correctly, I had an issue with something marked 10 x $10 and it came up $2.50, the "girl" was off to the side texting. I approached her "are you working?"  She said Yeah...then said you will have to go to the customer service desk. Huh? In the middle of my check out?  Then she turned back and continued texting.

What did I do? Toss the item out of my basket. Not worth the hassle. Is it worth the time and hassle to get the manager over it? Nope. Never. You could do this all day...

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JB, I would have done the same...not worth the aggravation to find a manager.  I totally don't understand how employees get away with texting at their jobs.  Poor management is the only thing that I can think of...

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Are you absolutely sure you want to continue to live there after you sell? You have THE worst service stories I have ever heard. Your grocery stories are amazing. DH does the shopping here and if the checkers don't see him for a few days they ask if he's been 'seeing other checkers at the OTHER store'? They know him and chat him up.

At the little grocery store down the street he gets free coffee.

If I've had anyone in a store around here pawn me off on someone else I can't remember when it was.

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I can tell you plenty of stories from everywhere I have lived. By the way in Australia they do not tip, so you can imagine my service stories from down under. They actually work for a wage like any job, so good service is not part of the requirement, apparently.  

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My favorite tipping story was one my Mom told about when my aunt was a waitress in a "NICE" restaurant in Chicago during the Depression. The man left a puny tip (and she prided herself on GOOD service - plus it was expected at that restaurant or you did not work there) so she took the tip and handed it to him as he was leaving, telling him he obviously needed it more than she did. I was brought up that the ultimate insult to tell wait staff the service was totally bad, was to leave 2 cents on the dirty plate.

Too many people leave a tip because it is expected.

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 We have a few of those types of restaurants here.  It's almost as if they are satisfied with existing on first-time tourist business.  Once someone's sat down & eaten, they have their money.  Doesn't matter if they come back.  It's a shame that the ones who could have great potential are content to just be so-so.  

There's one that's pretty popular because of good food.  But, it's common knowledge that their service sucks.  All of the wait staff (which include the owners) are randomly helping everyone with everything.  So, one person seats you, another takes your drink order, another will bring you your drinks and then another will take your food order.  They don't assign tables to servers, they all pitch in.  The result is that no one knows what any one table needs or what stage they are in, whether they are waiting for their check or wants dessert  & no one's asked.  It's a mess, but people keep going back.  

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Don't get me started on the state of service where I currently live - it is abominable.  We did go out to eat last week and the kitchen screwed up (on both our orders which had to be sent back) and we had a server in training.  She was extremely apologetic and I just looked at her and said, "Well, you didn't cook the food, did you?  If you didn't, it's not your fault."   She looked at me like I'd given her a gift.  The kitchen was in mayhem that evening and apparently all the servers were getting chewed out.  They know us there and we had 4 different people apologize to us.  Where was the manager or owner?  No clue.

Also, every time I go to another city and don't experience this every single time I pay good money for I meal, I am baffled by this happening here all the time. This is why we rarely eat out here...we have been disappointed far too often.  I have no problem speaking to wait staff now.....

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We went to a nice waterfront restaurant in Miami and ordered the shrimp cocktail at happy hour for $5.00, supposedly a "great happy hour deal" at that price.  When it arrived at the table, it was four SALAD shrimps and some sauce.  My friend asked, "Who ordered the plankton?"  Neither the management nor the waitress could understand why we were disappointed with what was served.  Well...we won't be going back there again.

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There is nothing that can be done to fix a "perceived" grievance. Everyone is "out to get" these peoplke and make their life miserable. Truth be told, they are making everyone else's lives miserable.

Actually the hardest to deal with (to me) are the passive manipulators - they go through life like butter would not melt in their mouth as they play the innocent victim to all of life's travails and everyone's actions. THEY are the ones who are not permitted to express and opinion (if you contadict them) and they do not want to be a problem but could they possibly have .....

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I know what you mean its when the request is a bit of a pain but not unreasonable enough that you can say no. Have a family that come 5 nights every year for the petrol conference  and it goes like this - could we have hot milk for our tea, could we have mugs with a narrower top so the tea stays hot, can we have our tomatoe raw and sliced very thin?, can we have our mushrooms sliced very fine and fried? with a poached egg which is the faffiest type fof egg, this is every day for 5 days and they all 3 eat the same thing so at least you know its comming. However its a pain when you have a busy breakfast on!

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

can we have our tomatoe raw and sliced very thin? 

You win the prize for today. Pass the PITA crown...

I can always envision tshirt slogans when I am on this forum, this one would go like this:

                     "DON'T TELL ME HOW TO SLICE THE TOMATOES

                                  Just deal with it!"

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Just read the article - used to work in a large hotel were reservations were taken by 1 lady who worked 9-5 monday to friday and frankly didn't give a monkeys about reception having to deal with these people face to face - ie on a friday night when we were 3 overbooked (because of her) it was well best of luck with that! im off! drove me spare! One of the girls when faced with (we called them shouters) would just sort of get into a panic and repeat "its not my fault" and this article makes my point to here - THEY DONT CARE! unless you can produce the person who's fault it is right then and there its irrelevant - what you are going to do about it is all that matters!  

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What I hate is people who turn up with no prior arrangement who expect you to break away from breakfast and sort them out. We had a regular who must have stayed with us at least 24 times before (she comes for 2 conferences a year every year since we bought) - the car park is full where can I park and Ive had to wait ages for you answering the door. (1) she know I am in the middle of breakfast and 2 she has been here enough to know its free all day parking here on a sunday! she can park anywhere literally!!!! now then I was really cross! Plus same check out situation - we have another large group who come for a conference every march but brought a new girl with them - hadn't checked out despite the fact all the other people in her group that were going that day had been discussing checking out over breakfast. but didn't have an individual mobile for her. Luckily caught john (her boss) putting something in his car about 1pm. said could you tell her to check out as the next person would like the room to be avaliable - she came back "Oh I didn't realise I had to check out" I mean how stupid could you be?

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 I agree with the article as long as the angry guest is not just an angry person using their anger to get WAY more than what they are paying for.  We always try to give more than promised but we do have limits.  Here's an example.  

Guests coming from west coast (we are on the east coast) taking the "red eye" arrive at the B+B at 9:00 am and want to get into their room.  Check-in is at 3:00pm; we are full and serving breakfast to the current guests. They have been made perfectly aware, from the time they booked, that check in is no earlier than 3:00PM.    They are all huffy and insist on using a bathroom so they can freshen up and change.  DH lets them use our bathroom in an attempt to pacify them.  We send them on their way with suggestions for things to do and places to see and get busy checking out our current guests, cleaning and doing laundry.  They get back at 1:00...no surprise there...we figured they would be back early.  Then the demands started.  More linens, one of them wants to sleep on the sofa bed...no problem....linens delivered.  Breakfast must be delivered to one of them because she just does not want to come into the dining room.  No, they do not want to pay the extra for a delivered breakfast. DH complies...I fume in the background. They want a late checkout. I DRAW THE LINE... NO CAN DO.  We arrange for the PITA to be delivered to the hotel where the companion has a conference in order to get her out AT 10:30 so we can turn the cottage.  She leaves all her food in the refrigerator and her bags in the cottage.  She arrives back at the B+B at 12:30 (check-out is 10:30) to use the bathroom and is all put out that we removed her bags and food to the porch so we could defrost the refrigerator and clean.  This is one of those cases where no amount of service is going to satisfy the angry customer.  

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 Silverspoon you just want to say "Oh I didn't realize you booked 3 nights, let me ring that charge for you now" Amazing, truly amazing that anyone would show up at 9am to check in. And yet, I believe every one of us here has had that happen at least once. People who are not yet innkeepers are shaking their heads, surely you jest!  Nope, we jesteth not.  9am right in the middle of serving your guests there is a rap rap rap on the door "We're here to check in" even standing there holding the confirmation that states check in time begins at 3PM.

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Oh, JB, I would have but I was getting breakfast and the place was full.  I couldn't have squeezed them into a room for any amount of money.  DH, bless his heart, has the patience of Job and is a very kind person.  His philosophy is "you can't push a string". He can make just about anyone smile and make nice while they are here.  But these guests were impossible!  

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

 Silverspoon you just want to say "Oh I didn't realize you booked 3 nights, let me ring that charge for you now" Amazing, truly amazing that anyone would show up at 9am to check in. And yet, I believe every one of us here has had that happen at least once. People who are not yet innkeepers are shaking their heads, surely you jest!  Nope, we jesteth not.  9am right in the middle of serving your guests there is a rap rap rap on the door "We're here to check in" even standing there holding the confirmation that states check in time begins at 3PM.

I for one do not think you jesteth!  Having run a small service based business and telling a customer your X will be ready at 5 we close at 5:30, and then have them show up at 2 hoping we were just so busy I didn't (as the service manager) have time to call them, they would hang around.  My "lobby" if you will was the size of a closet, two chairs, one was mine.  We built a high (4 foot high) counter to keep customers from snooping at the paperwork on my desk, which often included the reciept for the part we were installing.

Nope I think you jesteth not.  People expect more than they pay for, and when we give it to them, they expect even more, often without a thank you.

I was once asked why we didn't have a vending machine, and how come the ones at the liquor store weren't working.  I explained the liquor store has been out of business for over two years, the Sheetz across the street had more room for items not relating to my business than I did.  "We have a deal with them, we don't make coffee and they don't try to fix X.  It works out better for all of us that way, please look both ways when you cross the street.  I'll see you at 5."

PITAs exist in all businesses, the problem with these PITAs are they are in your home.

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What is it about the other coast anyway? I'm sure we do the same thing to them, but it does seem to mostly be the other coast with the long list of demands.

(All of early arrivals, other than said other coasters, are from MA. They get up at the crack of dawn, get in the car and they're here before breakfast. What are they thinking???)

My worst times have been red eye flights or people who are already in the state but are acting like they just got off the plane. And, same thing, we had a guy who came back at noon to find his stuff in the living room. He ranted on and on because he wanted to take a shower and we weren't letting him. (After arriving 2 days prior at 9 AM and expecting to have a room ready for him.)

We knew he was an angry bird from the start, so nothing other than his way all the way would have sufficed.

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Ours jobs are to serve our guests, so we see this more than other who just live here or there.

The reputation of the east coast on "the other coast" has always been moreso what was mentioned in the comments. Demanding has always been a typical stereotype of the NE. SLOW has been a stereotype of the south. But in reality it is the people themselves, the pushy bossy needy guests - they live everywhere. Oh yeah there are midwest and great lakes stereotypes, we won't leave them out of this! haha

Then there are the transplants from one to the other north or south and everything is thrown out the window!

But having said that, there is a cultural difference wherever you live, and you may be in the same town on the other side of the tracks from whatever else, either side, and have your own culture.  From accents to food it all differs within one small community (not even going city-size here).

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We were in Applebee's the other night.   It was full with people waiting.   Rather than the waitress bringing out our plates,  it was the assistant manager who apologized for taking so long (it really wasn't that long) but she had made the kitchen redo some spinach on the plate because it "wasn't right".   I was so impressed by this that someone actually took the time and care to make sure what was coming out of their kitchen was to a standard.  

It's grown quite sad around here.  There used to be 4 or 5 restaurants that we could recommend to guests, but we've seen the quality slowly decline and have started to receive complaints from guests.  We've actually started sending them to outlying areas.

 

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We went out to dinner at a funky new place last week. Our friends warned us that they 'run out of stuff'. There was one person waiting tables and one person cooking, altho I think the waiter was helping in the kitchen, too as well as bartending.

He came to the table and gave us the menus and said, 'We're out of haddock and I have one more cover of the steak,' and walked away.

Even tho the service was a bit erratic, I'd go back in a heartbeat. It was one of those hole in the wall places that you hope doesn't go out of business because it's so far off the beaten track.

And, yet, we have a place in town that is really nothing more than a tourist trap. It's been open for almost a year and the service still stinks, the food is still not great and the prices are absurd. But, for that place it's location and name. Prime real estate. Famous name. But still can't recommend it.

 

 

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